There are several cacti species all over the world of which you might want to grow a few. Cacti can make for great houseplants as they are simple to care for. Let’s take a detailed look at how to plant cactus in pots so that you can try it out yourself.
How to Plant Cactus in Pots
There are several things you need to take care of when it comes to plating a cactus in a pot. This involves a step-by-step method so that you know exactly what to do throughout the process.
Go through the following steps involved in the process and then try them all out on your own.
1. Select a Method
You can plant a cactus in a pot using seeds, cuttings or a new plant.
If you want to plant a cactus in a pot, using seeds can be an effective, simple but slow process. This is because the process will begin from scratch as you will need to prepare the seeds, get the soil ready, wait for them to germinate and then transplant them to a pot.
While preparing the seeds, you should not plant them too deeply into the soil. You will also need to cover the container with a lid or wrap so that the moisture stays inside the container.
These seeds will take around a month or so to grow spines, after which you can start removing the cover and shifting them to a bigger pot. The germination process can further take up to a year depending on the species that you are growing.
Check out how to grow cactus seeds.
Another way in which you can plant a cactus in pots is by using cactus cuttings. Cut these from a healthy cactus plant and then allow the cuttings to rest for a bit so that they can be ready for planting.
You should then dip these cuttings in a rooting hormone so that the rooting process becomes easier. Plant these cuttings in soil and then start watering them within a few days or so.
You will also need to ensure proper placement of the cuttings in the soil with the hormone-dipped part beneath the soil.
You can read our article on growing cactus from cuttings.
A simpler way to go about the entire process is to simply buy a well-developed but relatively young cactus from a local nursery or store so that you do not need to make the effort of germinating the seeds or cuttings.
This is a convenient method that can save you plenty of time as well. However, you will still need to replant the cactus in fresh soil so that it grows well.
While buying the plant, make sure you confirm its age, its overall health, its species and its care requirements, among other things.
2. Prepare the Soil
Before you plant the seeds, cuttings, a germinated plant or a young plant in fresh soil, you will need to ensure that you prepare the soil well. Go through the following steps involved in preparing the soil.
- First, you will need to select the right kind of soil for your cactus. You can simply buy a good cactus mix from an online or physical store. This mix should contain pumice, peat, sand and topsoil.
- You can try out any reputed brand for the soil or you can prepare it on your own using high-quality materials. The only condition is that the soil should be well draining and must not retain too much moisture, as this could damage the roots. This is highly important for cacti.
- Make sure you are aware of the requirements that your particular species needs, although the soil formula tends to be more or less similar for most species.
- Make sure that the soil pH is suitable for the cactus as well. Most cacti and succulents prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil that ranges from 5.0 to 7.0. Anything beyond that will make the soil alkaline and unfavorable for the healthy growth of the cactus.
3. Prepare the Pot
The next step is to prepare the pot well. For this, you need to ensure that you choose the right size as well as the right material of the pot that you will plant your cactus in.
In terms of size, you should choose a small (but not tiny) pot that can provide enough space for the roots to grow and breathe while also holding the cactus in such a way that the stems and areoles are easily visible to you above the height of the pot.
Make sure you do not pick a pot that is too big either, as this will lead to too much watering or fertilizing.
When it comes to the material, you should opt for clay or ceramic, although plastic can sometimes work too. All you need to do here is to ensure that the pot can support the drainage requirements. Make a hole at the bottom of the pot to enhance this if it is not already present.
Make sure you keep this in mind for whenever you need to repot the cactus as well. While repotting, you will need to find a slightly larger pot that is preferably of the same material.
4. Arrange and Plant
Once you prepare the pot, you can place the soil inside it as well. You should first cover the base of the pot with pebbles or gravel to improve the drainage. Now, fill the pot with enough of the soil mix.
You can now place the germinated cactus inside this soil. Make sure you do this extremely carefully since you do not want to cause any damage to the roots or stems. If required, wear safety gloves (to avoid pricks from the spines) and use pliers or tongs to hold the young cactus.
Lower this into the soil, center it and then cover some of the base with additional soil and sand. Firm this soil up a bit around the base so that it can hold its place. Make sure that the soil does not overflow too much from the pot since you will still need to account for some space while watering the cactus.
5. Provide Care
Now that you have successfully germinated and planted the cactus inside a pot, you will need to take proper care of it to ensure that it continues to grow inside the pot. You can go through some of these care requirements in the following points.
- You should water the cactus whenever the soil becomes completely dry. Remember, cacti do not need too much watering as their roots can store enough of it. In case some species require more frequent watering, make sure you confirm this before you establish a schedule.
- Gradually introduce the cactus to sunlight to prevent burning. Once it is used to it, ensure that you provide it with full sun with some shade as well.
- Keep track of the cactus throughout its growing process so that it does not attract too many pests or develop diseases. In case this occurs, you will need to use pesticides or oils and repot the cactus in case the damage is significant.
Do Cactuses Do Well in Pots?
Cacti do well in pots because they do not have too many requirements when it comes to growing healthily. A large number of cacti have small but thick roots, which is why they do not need too much space.
Thus, as long as you have a well-sized pot with sufficient space and width for the soil as well as the roots to breathe, then the cactus will do well in the pot.
However, make sure you do not limit the size of the pot too much, as this could harm the roots. As long as you get the size right and continue to care for the cactus using the required conditions, then you can expect a healthy enough cactus.